Magistrate Judge grilled by high court for sending 72-year-old man to mental hospital without a certificate of illness after ‘altercation’ at ongoing motor accident hearing
- Ram Kumar spent close to 20 days at the city’s Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS)
- Kumar has been defending himself in a motor vehicle accident case for 10 YEARS before proceedings became ‘heated’ in court
- The man’s sons claimed that he was being unlawfully detained and had their original appeal turned down
- Justice S Muralidhar noted a violation of the Mental Health Act by court
- A further investigation is being launched into the case and why the man’s relatives were not informed
- See more news from India at www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome
THE Delhi High Court has taken a magistrate to task over the ‘unjustified detention’ of a 72-year-old man in a mental institution.
Ram Kumar was freed after spending close to 20 days at the city’s Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) without a certificate of mental illness.
His sons had filed a habeas corpus plea through their counsel Akhil Sharma, seeking Kumar’s release from the mental home as they claimed that he was being unlawfully detained. Their appeal was turned down by the trial court.
On 3 November, Kumar was sent for medical examination at Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital by the trial court judge who was hearing the matter where Kumar had been defending himself in a motor vehicle accident case for a decade.
Ram Kumar, 72, was ‘unlawfully’ held at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences for close to 20 days without a certificate of illness. Kumar allegedly entered into an altercation with another party during a long running motor accident case that had been running close to a decade
During the case, he allegedly entered into an altercation with the advocates of the other party that led to his detention at the mental hospital. After a brief examination based on his erratic behaviour, he was referred to the psychiatric ward of the hospital for further medical examination.
The doctor stated that ‘no psychopathology was detected’ while examining Kumar. Following this, Kumar was once again produced before the magistrate who after a brief interaction with him concluded that he had to be kept under observation at IHBAS for another 24 hours, as he seemed violent.
In the order, the judge also stated that Kumar was not able to provide the whereabouts of his family.
Justice S Muralidhar and IS Mehta of the high court, who were present during the hearing, noted violation of the Mental Health Act by the magistrate court that ordered Kumar’s detention and even extended it without issuing the mandatory mental illness certificate.
When Kumar was again produced before the magistrate in front of his two sons on 5 November 5 and 20 November, the orders of keeping him under detention till 5 January 2018 were passed after it was stated that his medical evaluation was still in progress at IHBAS.
The institute is an autonomous body registered under the Societies Act 1860, and is funded jointly by the union ministry of health and family welfare as well as the Delhi government. Kumar’s sons also filed an application on November 20 for the release of their father which was turned down.
The high court was surprised to find that the police did not inform his family members even though he was carrying his case papers which had details of his address.
During his detention at IHBAS, Kumar maintained that he was not a patient and refused to sit on his bed.
Delhi’s Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, where Mr Kumar was allegedly held for nearly 20 days without proper proof or certification of a mental illness.
Following this, they approached the high court. The bench observed that though the final report revealed that Kumar had no high-risk behaviour, even then IHBAS did not instruct the prosecution to bring this fact before the magistrate at once.
Kumar’s sons told the high court that their father was a heart patient and underwent a traumatic experience at the mental health hospital.
The police official who took Kumar to the mental health hospital has been asked to file a separate affidavit, stating why none of the elderly man’s family members were informed about his whereabouts when he was detained the very first time.
At the same time, the bench forwarded the matter before the high court committee that supervises the work of the magistrate, who ordered the detention of Kumar, for taking appropriate action.
The Delhi High Court also asked the Delhi Judicial Academy to organise at least four exclusive orientation courses as part of the Mental Health Act in the next year for the benefit of judicial officers as well as the mental health professionals of IHBAS and other similar institutions in Delhi-NCR.
Representatives of Delhi Police will also participate in the classes.